The Benefits Of Green Tea

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Saturday! How I love thee. :)

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I wasn’t always a huge green tea fan like I am today.

When I first started drinking green tea, I thought it was bitter and not overly enjoyable.

Green tea is an acquired taste much like wine; after time, you begin to appreciate the flavour and enjoy experimenting among different types. As I drank it more, my love for green tea grew and grew.

I also started to do a lot of reading about green tea because I wanted to know everything I could about it. I turned to one of my favourite books called ‘Foods That Fight Cancer‘ by Drs. Beliveau and Gingras.

What is so good about green tea?

  • It is green ;)
  • Flavanols, more commonly known as catechins, make up 1/3 of the weight of a tea leaf. Catechins are thought to be the compound responsible for the anti-cancer activity in green tea.
  • Catechins possess anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties that allow the plant to resist invasion by a large number of pathogens.
  • The most important catechin in green tea is known as EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate- now you know why they abbreviated it!) as it has the highest anti-cancer activity of all.
  • It contains 4 times less caffeine than black tea
  • Tea can become the ‘soul’ of one’s diet, representing a daily symbol of relaxation, meditation, and good health.

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Not all green tea is created equal:

  • The catechin content of green tea varies widely based on the type, area of cultivation, diversity of the plants used, harvest season, and processing techniques. Just because it says green tea on the label does not mean that it will possess high amounts of catechins.
  • Further, the brewing time of the tea largely influences the final catechin content.

How do I know what types of green tea are good to drink?

  • As a general rule, Japanese green teas have a much higher EGCG content than Chinese green teas.

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[Source]

As you can see, Japanese green teas are superior in their EGCG concentration as compared to Chinese green teas. I always purchase Sencha because it is difficult to find Gyokuro and Sencha-Uchiyama tea in my area.

This is the 4′Oclock loose leaf Japanese Sencha tea that I am in love with.

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In summary:

  • Select Japanese green tea whenever possible
  • Allow your tea to steep for 8-10 minutes which favours the extraction of catechins
  • Drink freshly brewed tea whenever possible

Now that I have been drinking green tea for about 8-9 years, I couldn’t imagine not drinking it. I probably drink about 6-7 cups a day now! I also drink lots of herbal tea (Chamomile, lavender, and peppermint tea, etc) in the evening.

Little known fact: I often drink chilled green tea while working out as I find that it gives me a bit of extra kick!

Are you a tea lover or coffee lover? Why or why not? What types do you drink?

Eric and his family are the ones who got me drinking regular black tea. My mother in law is Irish and my father in law is English and they both grew up drinking tea. Eric used to get chilled tea in a bottle as a baby!! Apparently it is very common in Ireland…crazy, eh? I never liked black tea as much as Green tea though. I love how green tea makes me feel- healthy and energized.

I’ve never drank a cup of coffee in my life. I don’t have anything against coffee at all, I just got hooked on tea first and never yearned for anything else.

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I’m off to eat my new favourite hot breakfast:

Baked Breakfast Pudding Cake!

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I’m calling it cake because it is just that good. Exhibit A: Cake Batter.

I discovered it is also awesome COLD right out of the fridge. I had it for dessert one night and it was so yummy.

I’m making my next overnight batch on Sunday and will pop them in the oven early Monday morning. I’m thinking apple pie and pumpkin pie…yum! I’m going to play around with the nut to oat ratio too and will report back with my new recipes.

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Ron White Charity Shoe Drive

On the way to our in laws today, we are dropping off a bag of shoes for Ron White’s Charity Shoe Drive. If you are in the GTA and have gently worn shoes/boots, please consider donating them for those in need. It is a bone chilling (-16C/4F) today so please consider helping those in need of warm feet.

Even if you aren’t in the GTA, you can always drop off shoes to your local charity drop box!

Will blog from the in laws. Going to workout this big, strong heart and be rewarded with happy endorphins in return.

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In my next post, I will be talking about how my first day of NOT multitasking went…OH BOY! lol

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{ 100 comments… read them below or add one }

Ali @ Food,Fitness, Fashion January 9, 2010

Very informative post!

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Jessica @ How Sweet It Is January 9, 2010

Really makes me feel better that you didn’t like tea before! I don’t like it and think it is bitter and tastes like dirty water. I had no idea it was an aquired taste. Maybe I will try it a few more times. Thanks Ange!

Have a safe and fun trip today. :)

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SweetOblivion January 10, 2010

A lot of people think green tea is horrible & bitter because it’s often made using just-boiled water, which burns the tea leaves ;)
If you try it using 1/4 cold water and 3/4 freshly boiled water, putting in the tea after the water, it doesn’t burn and it tastes really delicate and lovely :)

Really informative post Angela! :)

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SweetOblivion January 10, 2010

sorry for the smiley overload…!

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Morgan @ Life After Bagels January 9, 2010

I’m a tea lover and a coffee lover . . . and so is my bf. I have about 10 cups of coffee a week and about 20 cups of tea a week.

I’m SO EAGER to hear about your day of non multitasking . . . I’m not sure how to figure out how to do it, I didn’t realize what an addict I was.

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Lily @ Lily's Health Pad January 9, 2010

I drink it all! Tea, herbal tea, and coffee, but I typically have only one caffienated beverage a day.

Green tea is definitely an acquired taste. I used to not be able to stand it, but now I drink it on occasion, especially if its flavored with mint or something.

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Kristie January 9, 2010

I love unsweetened iced tea – green or black – and hot tea too now. You are definitely right about it being an acquired taste! However, there are a couple tea brands that make really good tea that tastes spicy sweet – have you ever had Good Earth tea (original flavor) or Harney & Sons tea (the Cinnamon Spice flavor has the same type of spicy sweet going on)? When I want something sweet and soothing I love having a glass of those teas :)

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Estela @ Weekly Bite January 9, 2010

I love both coffee and tea.

It really depends on what I feel like drinking.

Love green tea! Thanks for the info!

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Mellissa January 9, 2010

I am a tea drinker and like just about any flavor but my favorite is Good Earth Sweet and Spicy. As for coffee, I hate it! I don’t even like the smell.

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Sarah January 9, 2010

I love hot tea :) Though I’m working on drinking it unsweetened (I use a little stevia). I love Celestial Seasonings Vanilla Chamomile tea at night to relax before I go to bed. I like green tea when I eat sushi.

Do anyone have any tips for drinking unsweetened tea? If I don’t add stevia, I never end up finishing the glass…

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Sarah January 9, 2010

I’m a tea addict – I absolutely love me some regular black tea (with milk) and my being half-Irish has a lot to do with it! I don’t like coffee, and I really dislike iced tea.

As a rule I don’t like herbal / green tea, but that’s just because I don’t want to like them – I’m happy with my milky tea with two sugars. It’s my treat, my lift and my spirit rejuvenator. And I love it.

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Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete January 9, 2010

I’ve been drinking green tea for a while, and I had no idea as to why it was good for me. Thanks for sharing the info!!

I usually just stick to one cup 3-4 times a week b/c my body is very sensitive to caffeine. I only drink it when I need it during the semester. I didn’t have any during winter break. :)

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Erin January 9, 2010

I got into the green tea habit while living in Korea; I’ve sort of fallen off the green tea bandwagon now that I’m back in the US but still love an afternoon cuppa. :D

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Meg's Gut January 9, 2010

Green tea and rooibos tea are my favourites!
i’ve also never had a cup of coffee ever either!

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Cassie @ A Very Busy Mind January 9, 2010

I have a strong love affair with coffee…but I enjoy tea, too. Usually, I MUST have coffee in the morning, and I have tea in the afternoon. I’m currently in the process of experimenting with new teas. I have a lot to learn about the tea world!

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Cecilia January 9, 2010

I love both tea and coffee. I only drink coffee with breakfast, though, because it has a tendency to keep me up at night otherwise. So after that morning cuppa, I stick to tea, green, black, rooibus and herbal, I love it all!

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Anne P January 9, 2010

I love me some tea. So much better than coffee, which makes me feel icky. My fave is black tea with milk :) Although I actually have a new favorite that I’m going to blog about soon!

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Stacy January 9, 2010

Oooo, I’d like to hear about the black tea :) Always looking for good ones. My current favorite is Numi Chocolate Puerh – wonderful! Has probiotics as its fermented. Very healthy :)

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*Andrea* January 9, 2010

green tea is a healthy habit i need to adopt, pronto! i can only drink it with a ton of creamer or soy milk and sweetener.. i much prefer coffee :( but maybe i can slowly incorporate it into my diet if it’;s an acquired taste!?! i tried your cake batter as a snack – soooooooo good!!!

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Danielle (Coffee Run) January 9, 2010

Thanks for the info on green tea :) I’ll admit- I’ve tried it before and just wasn’t into it. But if it’s an aquired taste then maybe I should keep trying it. I’ve been diggin the Celestial Seasonings Gingerbread tea!

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Natasha January 9, 2010

Great post!!!

I like to share the love. Tea and coffee for me (not at the same time of course). I go through phases where I have tea in the morning, and then I change and it’s coffee. It can depend on how I wake-up too ;-)
I got onto Sencha Green Tea after I read it in a few of your posts, I even managed to find it in a place not to far from home (not that easy to do in Paris). I love it! Just that bit sweeter than regular green tea. So thanks for that.

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Niki January 9, 2010

Very informative! Great post!! I am both a coffee and tea lover!! I drink coffee in the mornings and then tea throughout the day. I am more of a black tea fan though, just have never really gotten into green tea. But after this post, I am going to give green tea another try! Do you find it better health-wise and taste-wise to use tea bags or the free tea leaves? I have never used tea leaves, which is why I am asking!! :)

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Rachel January 9, 2010

Love this post, especially because I’m thinking about drinking it.

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Courtney January 9, 2010

I have 2 cups of coffee in the morning and that is it, but if I’m cold or trying to avoid mindless snacking or not feeling good I have peppermint tea. I love it, and it is caffeine free. I especially love it freshly brewed from my Keurig…mmmm.
Courtney
adventures in tri-ing

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Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty January 9, 2010

I love green tea – I keep a jug in the fridge most of the time. That breaky looks delish!

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Stacy January 9, 2010

Hi Angela – good to know – Japenese! I have been drinking Tazo China Green Tips – time to change! You’re lucky you never got hooked on coffee – it is highly addictive and terrible for the liver. I was an AVID coffee addict, worked for Starbucks even. Last spring when I finally found an awesome Naturopath, who helped me with all my ailments, I learned from him how toxic coffee is on the body, liver and immume system :( He said tea is ok as its not the caffeine that is the issue – its the other alkaloids in coffee. On days where I have cheated and had a java in the am, my anxiety level shoots up and I cannot fall asleep at night. The “high” feels good for a bit but ugh the rest I can do without. I read some medical journals, to learn more about the alkaloids – if I remember correctly, they say they are the same chemical makeup/have the same effect as psychoactive drugs. This is more than you needed to know I’m sure but for my other fellow bloggers drinking coffee, kick it if u can. Takes time but like Angela said, you eventually acquire a love of tea and it is wonderful!

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Stacy January 9, 2010

oops! ImmuNe(sp) system that is ;)

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LindsayRuns January 9, 2010

I love how you say flavonols, better known as catechins. I’ve never heard of catechins. And your cake batter just sounds ‘right’. Great breakfast!

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Jolene January 9, 2010

I absolutely LOVE green tea, and this post just reminded me that I don’t drink enough of it! When I am home all day in the summer, I definitely do … but when I am at work I just don’t think about it.

I am going in to work today and I am going to bring a thermos of green tea that my friend brought me back from South Korea. He is a tea guru and has studied tea with different tea masters from around the world.

I drink a cup of black coffee every morning, but am just fine if I miss it one day. I love the taste though – mmmmm, fresh black coffee!!

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Jen January 9, 2010

The reason that you found green tea bitter at first may because you weren’t (and still aren’t? As you didn’t say anything in your post about it) brewing it right…

You aren’t supposed to make it with boiling water, you’re supposed to let the water cool down a bit first. I think for Sencha you want the water to be around 80 degrees (centigrade) before adding it to the tea. Otherwise it does get overly bitter.

Almost all tea that I’ve bought over here (in Japan!) has this written on it, but it never seems to in the West.

Apologies if you already knew this! It is really so much nicer made with non-boiling water though. Japanese people have kettle type things which actually heat the water to the ideal tea making temperature (and keep it there for as long as you want, so you can make cup after cup of perfect tea if you want to)

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Jen January 9, 2010

Just checked a Japanese tea site and it said 70 degrees, oops.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 9, 2010

So glad you mentioned this!!!! I meant to include this in my write up, but forgot. I never never boil the tea before making green…I read this too a few years ago. I think you are right though- I do think that is why I found it bitter before.

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Jen January 9, 2010

Oh good! I didn’t like it when I first had it either for the same reason!

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Ameena January 9, 2010

I recently started drinking green tea and while I kind of like it now, I definitely prefer black tea. Trader Joe’s English Breakfast or Typhoo Decaf are my favorites!

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Marina January 9, 2010

I adore green tea, but I didn’t really drink it these past few months. Got to get some good leaves :)

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Mandy January 9, 2010

I grew up drinking black tea. When my sister and I were kids we used it have it with our babysitter, always with milk and sugar. Now i can drink it black but sometimes it’s nice with a little honey/milk.

I’ve also like green tea for a while too. I’m a huge Japanese food fan, and there’s always green tea being served. I think the first time i tried it i was pretty indifferent. I remember it tasting like weird water. But now i love it.

Coffee has been more of an acquired taste for me. I remember the first time i tried the black coffee my mom was drinking i almost gagged. But this summer my coworkers got me coffee a couple times during late night work sessions and now i am definitely a fan.

So i like to switch up what I’m drinking whether it’s black or herbal tea, or coffee :)

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Morgan January 9, 2010

interesting info on the tea! I’m not really a tea person. Some of it literally makes me gag. I can handle cinnamon and citrus flavors but not much more than that. but I LOVE my coffee :) too bad there aren’t any health benefits that come from chugging espresso

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Tasha - The Clean Eating Mama January 9, 2010

I really need to drink more green tea. Wonderful post!

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Ricki January 9, 2010

I used to be a coffee drinker but since I’ve discovered green tea, I’ve been hooked, too. Recently I tried matcha and boy, is it addictive! I’ve had the oat pudding-cake cold, too, and really enjoy it that way. The pumpkin variation sounds stellar! And can’t wait to hear about your non-multi tasking ;)

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Bronwyn January 9, 2010

I am a coffee lover. And probably addict. I drink 1-2 cups a day (and more on holidays!). I usually just have it with a bit of milk, and honestly I LOVE the taste. I don’t really know how big a difference it makes in me energy wise. I’m actually more careful about drinking coffee because it has so much caffein.

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Deva (Voracious Vorilee) January 9, 2010

I love drinking tea! I am trying to switch over my morning coffee habit to tea because of all of the yummy varieites out there!

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Cait January 9, 2010

Green tea is my fav. I drink it all the time!

Side note, I have been following your blog for quite some time and really love it. You seem to have such a healthy and positive attitude toward food. I would love to have the same attitude. I exercise regularly and eat healthy during the day but I tend to over-eat at night. If I have 1 bite of something sweet, I need to have 10 bites. It is a vicious cycle! Any advice? thanks.

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Jil January 9, 2010

I drink it all!! I am a fan of subtle green teas or green teas laced with more fruity flavors. I cannot do the “minty” or “lemongrassy” green tea — the smell is overwhelming to me and the taste is not something I find completely unpalatable. However — I lurrrve green tea. I often forget about its caffeine content though as I’ve many a night lay awake because I decided to brew some tea at 10pm…haha

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Jil January 9, 2010

oops **palatable :) my bbbbb

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Alex January 9, 2010

My dad was Irish and I would get Irish breakfast tea in my sippie cups!!! All my cousins drank tea like water when we grew up.

I find I crave tea more often than coffee now- I think I need to wean myself off the java- my body is telling me to do it!

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Diana @ frontyardfoodie January 9, 2010

I’m a massive green tea fan. I didn’t like it growing up since I was obsessed with black tea and sugar but now I will never go back. I always loved Chinese tea and Japanese is just as tasty. Thanks for showing that chart! I’ll definitely try the Sencha now.

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Cynthia (It All Changes) January 9, 2010

I love green tea! I drink it in so many forms. My favorite is peppermint green tea.

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